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Why Programmers Should Play Boardgames

Why Play (Board) Games?

Screen Break

Get Out of Your Head

  • Relaxation: For a couple of hours, you forget about your troubles, deadlines, and problems and focus on something else. Even if you lose the game, that break does wonders and helps you refocus on work at a later date.
  • Risk taking and experimentation: Most of us are naturally risk-averse creatures, but in the sandbox of a game, we are free to be different people and try ideas that we would normally never dare to. These experiences might encourage you to try new frameworks, tools or paradigms in your programming work. In a test environment, at least.
  • Memory, logic, and problem-solving: Strategies in games generally involve tasks that are taxing to your brain, and concentration to solve them. The modern world is playing havoc with our ability to concentrate and focus, and games are a wonderful way to repair some of that damage. Isn’t programming all about logic and problem-solving? Surely skills worth sharpening with new challenges.

Teamwork and People Skills

Getting Started

  • 7 Wonders: The first game I bought, and I still love it. It introduces concepts repeated in other games, without you having to worry about them unless you want to.
  • King of Tokyo: You play action film style monsters kicking each other out of Tokyo. People will hate you, but only for two minutes at a time.
  • Pandemic: A classic cooperative game where your team works together to save the World from virus outbreaks.
  • Istanbul: Not necessarily the simplest game, but a great example of ‘euro’ style game where you allocate pieces to certain tasks and have to deal with tight resources to get the best score.
  • Mansions of Madness 2nd Edition: Somewhere between a role-playing game and a board game, it’s not short, but story-driven, and as an app runs the game, players don’t need to memorize many rules.
  • Codenames: A popular party game, pitting two teams against each other to try and match clues one team member gives them.
  • Dixit: Another favorite party game that can handle lots of people, you use descriptions to help or hinder players finding your card from a selection of beautifully illustrated cards.

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Chris Chinchilla

I explain cool tech to the World. I am a Technical Writer and blogger. I have crazy projects in progress and will speak to anyone who listens.